Washington Wizards – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2020-08-04T00:43:57Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Lottery Odds Aren't Improving In Orlando]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167564 2020-08-03T23:53:42Z 2020-08-03T23:53:42Z
  • The Wizards have lost their first three games in Orlando but that isn’t helping their lottery odds, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. Prior to the restart, an amendment to the rules locked the eight teams who weren’t invited to Orlando into the top eight spots in the draft lottery. The best Washington can do is enter the lottery in the No. 9 spot, even if it loses its remaining games.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Oladipo Not Playing On Monday; Brogdon Returns]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167526 2020-08-03T18:37:31Z 2020-08-03T18:32:18Z 1:32pm: Oladipo has officially been ruled out for Monday’s game, while Brogdon will be active, tweets Agness.

    10:45am: Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has been listed as doubtful to play in Monday’s game against the Wizards, as Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports tweets. Oladipo continues to rehab the quad tendon injury that he returned from earlier this year.

    The fact that Oladipo isn’t expected to suit up against Washington shouldn’t be a cause for concern for Pacers fans. Indiana is also scheduled to play on Tuesday vs. Orlando, and even after the All-Star guard changed his mind about sitting out the restart, there was an expectation that he wouldn’t play in both halves of the team’s lone back-to-back set. Sitting on Monday should mean that Oladipo is good to go on Tuesday.

    Oladipo, who announced a month ago today that he would opting out of the restart this summer, reconsidered that position after accompanying the Pacers to Orlando and responding well in practices. He logged 32 minutes in the club’s win over Philadelphia on Saturday, putting up 15 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting.

    Meanwhile, Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, who missed that game against the Sixers due to a neck injury, is listed as questionable for Monday’s contest vs. Washington, Agness notes. If Brogdon isn’t able to return today, he seems likely to do so soon.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[And-Ones: China, Pollin, Wembanyama, OTAs]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167212 2020-07-30T21:37:36Z 2020-07-30T20:00:47Z American coaches who spent time at three NBA training academies in China tell Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN.com that their Chinese partners were physically abusing young players and failing to provide them with schooling.

    The NBA opened academies in the Chinese regions of Zhejiang, Shandong, and Xinjiang in 2016, expressing a hope that the facilities would help grow the game in China and educate teenagers, while also helping the league identify top international prospects with possible NBA potential.

    However, according to ESPN’s investigation, the academy program – which operates out of sports facilities run by the Chinese government – was described by one American coach who worked in China as a “sweat camp for athletes.” Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada report that multiple American coaches left their positions due to the mistreatment of young players, with three sources telling ESPN that one of those coaches requested a transfer after seeing Chinese coaches strike teenage players.

    A handful of incidents were reported to the NBA, and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum – who recently revealed that the league shut down its academy in Xinjiang – told ESPN that the league office “did everything we could, given the limited oversight we had.” However, multiple sources told Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada that the instances of abuse were more prevalent than the few incidents Tatum confirmed.

    “Imagine you have a kid who’s 13, 14 years old, and you’ve got a grown coach who is 40 years old hitting your kid,” one former coach told ESPN. “We’re part of that. The NBA is part of that.”

    The NBA’s relationship with China has been under the microscope since last fall, when Rockets GM Daryl Morey published a tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors that angered the league’s Chinese partners. Given its financial interests in the country, the NBA has been unwilling to denounce China’s government for its human rights record, which has opened the league up to criticism from multiple U.S. politicians in recent months.

    While Morey’s tweet and the NBA’s tenuous relationship with its Chinese partners are no longer making headlines like they did last fall, ESPN’s investigation sheds additional light on the complications that come along with the league doing business in China.

    Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

    • Irene Pollin, the long-time co-owner of the Washington Bullets/Wizards with her husband Abe, passed away at age 96 on Tuesday, the Wizards announced (via Twitter). The Pollins owned the franchise for 46 years before Ted Leonsis assumed controlling ownership in 2010. Irene represented the Wizards at the 2010 draft lottery when the team won the No. 1 pick that was used to select John Wall.
    • Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype takes a closer look at 16-year-old Victor Wembanyama, a 7’3″ big man from France who is viewed as one of basketball’s most intriguing international prospects.
    • One iteration of the plan for OTAs for the NBA’s bottom eight teams would allow G League players to join those workouts, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv. As Begley notes, the participation of NBAGL players would allow a team like the Knicks – who are carrying a number of possible free agents – to conduct more full scrimmages. The NBA hasn’t yet finalized those proposed OTAs for its bottom eight teams, but they’re expected to be voluntary.
    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Bonga Impresses Brooks With Hustle]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166894 2020-07-28T02:16:29Z 2020-07-28T00:46:41Z
  • The Wizards’ Isaac Bonga‘s $1.66MM salary for next season is not guaranteed but he’s making a strong impression during scrimmages in Orlando, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes“He impacts the game because of his enthusiasm and his effort and just his spirit,” coach Scott Brooks said of the young big. “Everyone wants to play with him because he just plays so hard. He makes the right plays. He’s not thirsty out there.”
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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Bryant Doing Fine, Practicing With Team]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166154 2020-07-21T01:56:35Z 2020-07-21T00:39:07Z
  • Wizards big man Thomas Bryant returned to practice over the weekend after recovering from the coronavirus, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Bryant traveled to Orlando on Wednesday, about a week after the bulk of the team arrived.  Bryant said on Sunday night he’s doing fine, Hughes reports in a separate story“Me being sick, that’s in the past,” he said. “My focus right now is just with the team and going forward trying to win some games.”
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[NBA Announces Official Rosters For Summer Restart]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166155 2020-07-20T22:42:24Z 2020-07-20T22:08:40Z The NBA has announced the official summer rosters for each of the 22 teams involved in the resumption of the 2019/20 season. A total of 350 players make up the 22 squads, with only eight clubs carrying the maximum allowable 17 players. The Trail Blazers have the smallest summer roster, with just 13 players.

    Injured players who didn’t make the trip to Orlando – such as Nets stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant – don’t show up on the official rosters list, but injured players who traveled with their teams – including Mavericks big man Dwight Powell and Pacers swingman Jeremy Lamb – are included, even if they won’t play this summer.

    Besides players who are injured, voluntarily opted out, or were ruled out after contracting COVID-19, there are a few more notable omissions on the list, which we’ll round up here:

    • Houston Rockets: William Howard
      • A two-way player, Howard recently reached a two-year deal with ASVEL Basket in France, so it makes sense that he won’t be playing for the Rockets this summer.
    • Los Angeles Clippers: Johnathan Motley, Mfiondu Kabengele
      • As previously reported, Motley and Kabengele didn’t travel to Orlando with the Clippers and won’t be playing this summer.
    • Milwaukee Bucks: Cameron Reynolds
      • The Bucks only brought one of their two-way players (Frank Mason III), as Reynolds doesn’t show up on their official roster. The reason for his absence is unclear.
    • New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Gray
    • Philadelphia 76ers: Ryan Broekhoff
      • Broekhoff was signed as a substitute player to fill the Sixers’ open two-way slot, but later announced that he hadn’t traveled to Orlando because his wife, who is “high risk,” tested positive for COVID-19. Based on his omission from Philadelphia’s roster, it appears that Broekhoff won’t be joining the club after all.
    • Phoenix Suns: Tariq Owens
      • The Suns left one of their two-way slots open and apparently didn’t bring their lone two-way player to Orlando. The reason for Owens’ absence is unclear.
    • Portland Trail Blazers: Moses Brown
      • Despite only having 13 players available in Orlando, the Trail Blazers won’t have Brown – their second two-way player – with them. The reason for his absence is unclear.
    • Washington Wizards: Gary Payton II

    Mark Suleymanov <![CDATA[Nets Owner Joe Tsai Not Involved In A-Rod, J-Lo Mets Bid]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165968 2020-07-18T17:44:49Z 2020-07-18T17:39:11Z After Nets owner Joe Tsai was named as one of many high-profile sports figures attached to Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s bid to purchase the Mets, he denied being involved in the process on Saturday.

    Sorry Twitter, it is not true,Tsai said in a tweet. “I grew up as a Mets fan and I have a lot of respect for Alex and Jennifer. But I’m not involved in bidding for the Mets. Gotta focus on basketball.”

    Rodriguez and Lopez have put together a star-studded group as they attempt to acquire the MLB franchise, with multiple NBA names attached to the group. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Nuggets big man Mason Plumlee  — who originally named Tsai as part of the group— are among those involved. Additionally, Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray are part of the bid.

    Whether or not Rodriguez and Lopez are successful in their Mets venture remains to be seen. However, it appears it will be without the help of Tsai, who assumed full ownership of the Nets and Barclays Center last August.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Wizards Sign Jarrod Uthoff As Substitute Player]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165825 2020-07-17T21:51:28Z 2020-07-17T20:37:48Z 3:37pm: The Wizards have officially signed Uthoff as a substitute player for the NBA season restart in Orlando, the team announced in a press release.

    It’s not entirely clear which player Uthoff is replacing. An earlier tweet from John Hollinger of The Athletic indicated that he would be a substitute player for Bradley Beal. However, Beal’s absence is thought to considered injury-related, which would make him ineligible to be replaced, and Hollinger’s tweet has since been deleted.

    Head coach Scott Brooks declined to say today which player Uthoff is replacing, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

    11:54am: Free agent forward Jarrod Uthoff  will sign with the Wizards, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    Uthoff, 27, briefly saw action in the NBA this season after signing a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies in late February. He appeared in four games, averaging 1.0 PPG in limited playing time. He also played nine games for the Mavericks during the 2016/17 season.

    Most of Uthoff’s professional career has been spent in the G League, where he has been with various teams since 2016. He was named to the All-NBAGL First Team this season as a member of the Memphis Hustle, averaging 19.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Bryant Arrives At NBA Campus; Examining Wizards' Lineup, Rotation]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165622 2020-07-15T20:53:24Z 2020-07-15T20:53:24Z Wizards big man Thomas Bryant, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, has reported to the NBA’s campus at Walt Disney World, the club announced today (via Twitter).

    Bryant was part of a small group of Wizards players who didn’t initially travel with the team to Orlando last week. Gary Payton II also contracted the coronavirus, while Garrison Mathews‘ arrival was delayed due to a personal matter.

    Now that he has reported to the Disney campus, Bryant will have to go through a brief quarantine period and undergo COVID-19 and physical testing before being cleared to practice with the Wizards.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Beal Joins Group Seeking To Buy Mets]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165386 2020-07-14T02:14:59Z 2020-07-14T00:25:29Z
  • Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal, who will sit out the restart, has joined a group of investors bidding to buy the New York Mets, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is also part of the group that has joined forces with Alex Rodriguez and pop star Jennifer Lopez attempting to purchase the team. The group has submitted an initial bid of $1.7 billion.
  • Wizards center Thomas Bryant reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 last week. However, it appears Bryant will eventually join the club in Orlando, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets. “He’ll be back with us in a little while,” teammate Troy Brown said. “The biggest thing is making sure he’s OK.”
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Eastern Conference Seeding]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164907 2020-07-10T17:13:12Z 2020-07-10T16:50:07Z Although the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will still be up for grabs when the NBA’s eight “seeding” games begin on July 30, that race has lost much of its luster as a result of the injuries, COVID-19 cases, and opt-outs that have decimated the Nets‘ and Wizards‘ rosters.

    Technically, the Magic (30-35) are the No. 8 seed at the moment, but they’re just a half-game back of Brooklyn (30-34) for the No. 7 spot and seem likely to pass a Nets team that will be without at least seven players, including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and DeAndre Jordan.

    That would leave the Nets to hang onto the No. 8 seed by holding off the Wizards (24-40), who will be missing Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans, and John Wall, but could force a play-in tournament if they finish within four games of Orlando or Brooklyn. Washington is also currently without Thomas Bryant (coronavirus), Gary Payton II (coronavirus), and Garrison Mathews (personal), though some or all of those players may eventually rejoin the team.

    While that race for the seventh and eighth seeds may not be quite as dramatic as the NBA would like, there could still be some interesting jockeying for position further up the standings in the East.

    The 53-12 Bucks have a 6.5-game cushion over the 46-18 Raptors, so Milwaukee will likely clinch the top seed even if they’re on cruise control during the seeding games. But Toronto’s lead on the third-seeded Celtics (43-21) is just three games, and Boston’s eight-game schedule looks less daunting than the Raptors’ slate.

    Five of the Celtics’ eight games are against the Nets, Wizards, Magic, Grizzlies, and Trail Blazers, all of whom are at or near the bottom of the playoff race. The Raptors, meanwhile, will face Orlando and Memphis, but also have games against the Lakers, Heat, Nuggets, Sixers, and Bucks. The Celtics and Raptors face each other as well, in a game that will have important tiebreaker implications.

    That No. 2 seed isn’t as important as it once was, given the lack of home court advantage available, but it could mean facing the Magic instead of the Pacers, which should be a more favorable matchup even with Victor Oladipo sidelined.

    Speaking of the Pacers, they’re currently tied at 39-26 with the Sixers, with the No. 5 seed up for grabs. Clinching that fifth seed would likely mean securing a first-round matchup with the fourth-seeded Heat instead of the Celtics or Raptors.

    The Heat, meanwhile, are 41-24, putting them two games behind Boston and two games ahead of the Sixers and Pacers. They seem like a relatively safe bet to hold their position in the No. 4 vs. 5 matchup, but a hot or cold streak in Orlando could affect their spot in the standings, especially with games vs. Boston, Toronto, and Indiana (twice) on tap.

    What do you think? What do you expect the top eight spots in the Eastern Conference to look like by the time the playoffs begin? Will they look relatively similar to the current standings, or will there be some shuffling that results in some unexpected first-round matchups?

    Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Thomas Bryant, Gary Payton II Test Positive For COVID-19]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164929 2020-07-10T02:06:57Z 2020-07-10T00:30:21Z Wizards center Thomas Bryant and point guard Gary Payton II have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and did not travel with their teammates to the Orlando campus for the NBA’s season restart, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

    Shooting guard Garrison Mathews also did not travel with the rest of the team to Orlando, though his absence was a result of “personal reasons,” as Luke Adams noted in another Wizards story earlier today.

    The 6’10” Bryant, a third-year player out of Indiana, started in 28 of his 38 games with the Wizards this season. He averaged career-highs in points (12.1 PPG), rebounds (6.8 RPG), assists (1.9 APG), and three-point percentage (40.7% on 1.4 attempts per night).

    Since going undrafted in 2016 out of Oregon State, Payton saw limited action with the Bucks, Lakers and Wizards in parts of three NBA seasons. He saw more consistent action with Washington this year, playing in 14.9 MPG across 29 games, including 17 starts.

    The future availability for all three Wizards players in the restart is now up in the air. Players who test positive for COVID-19 can be replaced by substitutes, but teams also have the option of waiting for those players to be medically cleared.

    Washington is already missing starting shooting guard Bradley Beal (a two-time All Star), power forward Davis Bertans, and nominal starting point guard John Wall, who has been sidelined for the entire season.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Wizards Notes: Mathews, Beal, Rotation, Hachimura]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164896 2020-07-09T20:49:29Z 2020-07-09T20:49:29Z Having been one of the first NBA teams to arrive at the Walt Disney World campus on Tuesday, the Wizards announced today (via Twitter) that their quarantine period has ended and they’ll conduct their first practice later this afternoon.

    However, one player who won’t participate in that practice is two-way guard Garrison Mathews. Sources tell Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Mathews didn’t travel to Orlando with the team for personal reasons. According to Katz, Mathews hasn’t tested positive for the coronavirus, but it remains unclear whether he’ll join the team later or miss the rest of the season.

    Mathews, a rookie out of Lipscomb, appeared in just 18 games for the Wizards during the season, averaging 12.6 minutes per contest, so he wasn’t exactly an indispensable rotation piece. Still, Matthews would likely have moved up on the depth chart with Bradley Beal sidelined for the restart, so if he doesn’t eventually join the club at Disney, he’ll be missed.

    Here’s more on the Wizards:

    • Although Beal was shut down for the rest of the season due to a rotator cuff injury, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that he doesn’t think surgery “is an option at all” for the All-Star guard. Rest and a longer training camp period should have Beal ready to go for 2020/21, according to Sheppard. “I think if we had another month of ramp-up time, Bradley would probably be ready to play,” Sheppard said, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “These are eight games vs. 82 next season and all the seasons beyond that. I think it’s worth mitigating the risk right now for what’s ahead.”
    • In a separate story for NBC Sports Washington, Hughes contends that Beal’s performance this season showed that we still don’t know exactly what his ceiling is.
    • With Beal, Davis Bertans, and John Wall not participating in the summer restart, a handful of younger Wizards will get a chance to take on larger roles, according to Jackson Filyo of WashingtonWizards.com, who points to Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner, and Jerome Robinson as players who could step up. “I’m so excited for this opportunity,” Hachimura said, per Hughes. “I think we have a chance to make the playoffs.”
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Bradley Beal Won’t Play In NBA Restart]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164629 2020-07-07T15:39:29Z 2020-07-07T15:23:51Z Wizards star Bradley Beal won’t participate in the NBA’s restart this summer due to a right rotator cuff injury, the team announced today in a press release. According to the Wizards, the decision was made in “full consultation” with Wizards doctors, Beal, and the guard’s representatives.

    “Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury,” Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said in a statement.

    “Although he was able to play through the majority of the season with the injury, the layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing and agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision.”

    The Wizards’ announcement indicates that Beal first experienced discomfort in his right shoulder early in the 2019/20 season and managed the issue throughout the year before it worsened during the hiatus. He won’t travel with the team to Orlando as he continues his rehab process through the summer.

    Since today’s announcement suggests Beal is being ruled out of the restart due to an injury rather than voluntarily opting out, he presumably won’t have to forfeit his remaining salary for 2019/20. It also means Washington won’t be able to sign a substitute player to replace him on the roster.

    Previously, the Wizards signed Jerian Grant to replace Davis Bertans, who chose to opt out of the restart due to his upcoming free agency and a history of ACL injuries. However, players who are sidelined due to injuries aren’t eligible to be replaced by a substitute player. That applies not only to Beal but to fellow All-Star guard John Wall, who continues to recover from his Achilles tear.

    While the 24-40 Wizards still technically have a shot at the postseason this summer, they’re 5.5 games back of Orlando and six games back of Brooklyn. They’d have to make up at least two games on one of those teams to force a play-in tournament, then win two consecutive games against the Magic or Nets to earn the No. 8 seed. That seems like a long shot without Beal, Wall, or Bertans available, and it seems clear the club is focusing more on 2020/21 than this season.

    “This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” Beal said today in a statement of his own. “I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made.”

    The Wizards’ eight seeding games in Orlando will be against the Suns, Nets, Pacers, Sixers, Pelicans, Thunder, Bucks, and Celtics. Each of those teams figures to be more heavily favored against Washington now that Beal is out of the picture.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Wizards Notes: Beal, Grant, Hachimura, Go-Go]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164572 2020-07-06T19:05:36Z 2020-07-06T19:05:36Z Wizards guard Bradley Beal still hasn’t finalized a decision on whether or not he’ll participate in the NBA’s restart, but head coach Scott Brooks said today that Beal is expected to join the club on its flight to Florida this week, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.

    Beal said last week that he remains undecided about whether he’ll play this summer, expressing some concerns about the shortened ramp-up period and the possible injury risk. Brooks, who said there’s no specific timeline for Beal’s decision, said today that his All-Star guard is looking “great” in workouts.

    “His physical condition has been pretty good and continues to improve every day along with our other guys,” Brooks said, per Youngmisuk. “We are all getting tested every day and as of right now he’s a go and we are all going down there ready to compete and get better and play to get in a playoff position. He looks great.”

    The Wizards, who are 5.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the East, will be without All-Star point guard John Wall and sharpshooter Davis Bertans during the restart — Wall continues to rehab his Achilles injury, while Bertans opted out due to his impending free agency and his ACL injury history.

    Here’s more on the Wizards:

    • Jerian Grant, who replaced Bertans on the Wizards’ summer roster as a substitute player, called it a “dream come true” to join his hometown team, as Jackson Filyo of WashingtonWizards.com details. Grant, who grew up in the D.C. area, worked as a ball boy for the franchise as a kid, and his father Harvey Grant played for the then-Bullets from 1988-93.
    • Rui Hachimura, who would be preparing to represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics this summer if not for the coronavirus, remains hopeful that he’ll be able to play for his home country in 2021, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I’m honestly so sad about it. We can’t do anything about it,” Hachimura said of the postponement, adding that he has been looking forward to the event for years. “Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we’ll see how things go.”
    • Pops Mensah-Bonsu, the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, won’t return to the Wizards’ G League affiliate for the 2020/21 season, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “I wanted to pursue some other things at this moment in time,” Mensah-Bonsu said. The remainder of the 2019/20 NBAGL season was canceled and it’s unclear when next season will start — that uncertainty played a part in Mensah-Bonsu’s decision, per Buckner.